Of all the articles I've written for Front Porch Publishing, this is one of my favorites. Thank you Tracy family for sharing your story with us.
A Family Blended by God
In January of 2000, when high school sweet hearts, Alyssa Roehrig and Adam Tracy were married on a Jamaican cliff overlooking the blue Caribbean, they started on a journey that took them to places they never thought they’d go. They were just nineteen and twenty years old that day when they established their family, and their dreams were simple ones…they wanted to have jobs that would take care of their needs, own a home, and have a couple of kids.
In 2009, just nine short years after they married, Adam and Alyssa had the house, two sons, and the jobs. But now they found themselves wanting more…not more for themselves, but more of God’s will for their lives. And God had a plan for them that was to exceed all their dreams. He wanted them to make a difference in the lives of children who needed a home.
With the blessing of their sons, Noah, age 8 and Dominic, age 5, and their supportive extended families, Adam and Alyssa began the process to become foster parents with the intent to adopt.
In October of that year, the Tracy family received the phone call that would change, not just their lives, but the lives of three other children. A sibling group of three boys, ages 8, 2, and 1, needed a home. The granny that was caring for them couldn’t keep them any longer. In one day, the Tracy family grew from four people to seven when Chris, Carvelle and Reggie joined them. The boys were officially adopted on August 12, 2010.
Ten months later, on May 9, 2011, the Tracy family received another phone call. This one was to inform them that eleven month old Jesse was at the hospital and needed an emergency placement. He was brought to them that evening. He was with the family as a foster child until his adoption was finalized on August 15, 2014.
The last to join the Tracy family was Ellie. Alyssa says they received the call for her on May 2, 2012. They couldn’t refuse her, she was the biological sister of Chris, Carvelle, and Reggie, and adding a baby girl had been the goal of the original family of four. She was just 3 days old when she was picked up at the hospital. Her adoption had to be put on hold for several weeks to wait on paternity testing, but was finalized on December 17, 2012. Christmas that year was the best ever for the family of nine.
When asked if they had any fears before starting the fostering process, Alyssa explains that they thought the same thing every other foster person thinks: “what if you have to give them back after getting attached to them?! But, just like our biological kids, our foster and adopted kids are not really "ours" anyway. They are on loan to us from God who places them with us to nurture and grown them up in the way they should go.”
Although the Tracys are hoping their story will inspire others to open their hearts and home to children in need, they think it’s important to share that it isn’t always easy to do what they have done. Fostering to adopt is a bitter sweet experience. “Every aspect is bitter but sweet. For me to adopt, there will be an extremes loss in the child's life—the loss of their family. Yes, they gain another, but there is a HUGE loss first. I wouldn't trade the heartaches, the joys, the hours of stress, the tears or the laughter for anything.”
Today, Adam and Alyssa are parents to six sons, Noah (13), Chris (13), Dominic (10), Carvelle (7), Reggie (6) and Jesse (4). Rounding out their family is Ellie, age two, who is often referred to by her brothers as “the favorite” child because she’s the baby sister they all wanted.
At one time, the word “family” was defined as a group of people connected by blood, but the Tracy family has their own definition. They are a group of people God has blended together, to love and support each other—for the sole purpose of living lives that shine for God.
On Alyssa’s blog, https://myeverydayordinarylife.wordpress.com/ you will find this Bible verse that became their motivation for fostering and adopting children. It’s found in Romans 12. :
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Will there be more children for the Tracy’s? If there are, they may have to get a bigger house. The family remains in the small home that Adam and Alyssa first bought when they married. This writer is totally convinced though that it’s not the size of the house that makes a family, it’s the amount of love found in it.
Adam and Alyssa not only get to work as a team at home with the family God has given them, they also get to do it in the new jobs God has provided for them. They are co-administrators at Children’s Lantern, ( http://childrenslantern.org/) a non-profit organization whose mission statement is this: “Helping Helpless Children in 4 areas: Feeding Kids, Foster Care, Funding Adoptions and Freeing Sex Slaves”
Adam and Alyssa find great joy in serving God and others, but there are days when they wonder where they’ll find the time and energy they need to be the best parents they can be. They say they just do their best with what God has given them, and are comforted by the fact that they are making a difference in the lives of all their children by giving them a Christian foundation.
© Brenda Young